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Discussion Starter #1
National Velvet is the story of a 14 year old girl, Velvet Brown, who rides her horse to victory in the Grand National steeplechase. The horse which Velvet trains and rides in the Grand National is named The Pie, because his first owner says that he is a "murderous Pirate" unworthy of a name when Velvet and Mi see the horse for the first time. She says "Oh No, he is a lovely one, I will call him Pie".
The original story focuses on the ability of ordinary persons, particularly women, to accomplish great things. Velvet is a teenager in the late 1920s, living in a small English coastal village of Sewels in Sussex, dreaming of one day owning many horses. She is a high-strung, nervous child with a delicate stomach. Her mother is a wise, taciturn woman who was once famous for swimming the English Channel; her father is a butcher.



Day after day,thread after thread,the problems go on and the National Velvet syndrome overtakes another horse owner.

I see the same problems over and over and the solutions are so simple.
Get some real,live "Qualified help".
Get a real mentor that has started a bunch of colts and has worked through enough problems that YOU can find some success with your project.
Week after week I see colts and older mature horses that have been passed around that have no real problems except the people that they have come in contact with.
If you are nervous,scared,timid,bewildered,confused,or lack a solid plan OR
Lack the time,money,resources,or facilities,THEN leave it to a person that knows what they are doing!...Please!
In MOST cases it is NOT the horse's fault.

Find solid help and do it every day, week after week,month after month.
Find the consistency to train properly or let someone that knows what they are doing have the job.
You already saved the money because you got the horse for free or cheap from an auction,so spend some money on some training.

Give yourself and the horse a break!


Rant over!
 

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I have a related question. How do you know when you are "ready?"

For instance, I have owned horses for about 15 years, and I ride trails, often alone. But I have always bought horses that were already trained. That doesn't mean they are perfect by any means, but they are basically trained and capable of trail riding when I get them.

I have always had this fantasy of getting a younger horse, say maybe a weanling or yearling, and training it from the ground up. How do you know when you are ready?

What's kept me from doing it already (besides space) is that I am afraid I would fail. But I am not against getting and paying for help if I need it. I just don't want to "ruin" a horse.

So how do you know when you are ready?

I already learned that love is not enough when it comes to horses. The hard way. I bought two horses that came together and they were buddy sour really bad (which I didn't know when I bought them) and I ended up having to sell them for next to nothing. But what bothers me most is that I wasn't able to "fix" them. The mare would rear and refuse to leave the property. They shattered my confidence (luckily not any bones).

I have two trail horses now that I get along with wonderfully.

I want to get over my confidence issues and raise a horse from the ground up, but I don't want to fail. I did learn to be less naive when buying a horse though. But I would have liked it better if I went on in ignorant bliss and never had the bad experience.

So when do you know you are ready to graduate? Obviously no one wants to fail, but we all have to learn as we go, we are not born knowing everything about horses.
 

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In my opinion, there's not really such thing as "failing" when it comes to training horses unless you're an abusive SOB who deserves to be shot anyway. There's doing it this way and doing it that way, and maybe one isn't quite as good as the other in the end, but I really do not understand why anyone with a little common sense can't train a youngster.

I was only 14 when Zierra was born. Sure, I'd spent my entire life around horses, but I sure never trained a horse before, unless you count taking lessons on my demon child Arab gelding as a green broke 3 year old when I was 10 years old. Nobody helped me, they just left me to my own devices and a pasture of three Arabs. By some miracle of god, Zierra broke out into the nicest minded horse I've ever worked with. I equate this to being both her good personality, and my own ability to USE COMMON SENSE. I'd been around horses long enough to realize if something wasn't working a certain way, I needed to take a step back and do some problem solving and figure out WHY, and re-direct my route.

Who knows, maybe it did me good getting tossed out into a herd of Arabs as a child :lol: Boy oh boy, when you're staring at bellies, you sure do learn fast the right and wrong way to deal with things to avoid the world of pain that comes down on your young head if you keep doin' it wrong!

I agree with the National Velvet syndrome. Not in the sense that a youngster couldn't accomplish what the movie set out for you, but in the fact that these people want it all to happen in two hours, just like the movie! They don't have the patience to step back and learn, especially at a young age. They want the crazy horse and the problem horse and they want to bond with it NOW and if it doesn't happen, they write the horse off as incorrigable.

THE NUMBER ONE RULE OF TRAINING A YOUNGSTER:
Always, ALWAYS, be prepared to work with a trainer. I don't mean sending the animal away. I mean being mentally and financially prepared to contact a professional to help both you AND your horse work through an issue. Suck up the pride buttercup, and show your horse some respect if you can't understand his language! The only way to learn is to be taught, and if your horse can't teach you, maybe a professional can!
 

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Marecare,

LOVE your post. I used to call it the "Black Beauty" syndrome, the idea that a lot of amateur owners had that loving the horse would conquer training problems, and that a horse would express gratitude for being "rescued" by being well behaved.

There's so much anthropomorphism wrapped up in that attitude it's difficult to unravel.

Trailhorserider,

You're probably ready because you're clearheaded, rational and have realistic expectations. Knowing your own limitations is half the battle. The other factors that many folks fail to look at are do you have the facilities to work with a youngster? A round pen and/or a ring? A sturdy enclosed stall? An experienced ground person to help occassionally? You don't have to have all of them, but not having any of them is a recipe for failure.

Also think about plan B - if you find yourself over your head with your youngster and you need help, who are you going to call? Or where are you going to send the horse?

And a tangential point - folks on this forum (including me) frequently recommend getting professional help. But here's some reality behind that advice. Established, experienced professionals are usually not willing to travel to a back yard horse. If you find someone who is willing to come to your place and charge by the hour, 95% of the time that person is young and trying to build a reputation. The other 5% of the time they're new to the area and trying to build a clientele. Doesn't mean the person you do find to do it isn't competent, it just means that person is really hard to find. I only traveled to clients for year or two in my early 20s until my business built up to the point I didn't have to any more. As soon as I had my own place, I stopped traveling to customers, period, because I preferred to spend my time in my own ring rather than behind the wheel of my car. If you're lucky enough to find somebody good who's willing to travel to your, well, you're very lucky. Your odds are better if you board your horse someplace where there's decent facilities and other potential customers.

My point is, the majority of the time, to get good quality professional help, you have to send the horse *TO* the trainer and pay whatever that entails.

The sticking point for a lot of the back yard horse owners on this forum is that they need professional help, but can't afford or don't have accessability to the kind of help they need. So they continue to try to work with their horses at home, buy the latest training video and try to muddle through with mixed success.

/end rant/
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes!
This is the real problem with many of the horses out there and it will continue so long as people are armed with cookies,carrots, kisses,and blurry You-Tube videos of Stacy Westfall.

People will continue to think it is the halter or feed or the color of the stick that is keeping them from total success.
Sparkles WILL BE the horse that they want and they will try every technique at least once to make it happen.
When everything else fails,then they can always give advice on the Internet!

The ideas of training a horse are just completely convoluted by good intentions.
 

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And this is why we have a huge problem with large numbers of unwanted horses in this country...
 

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Marecare, that was great. What amazes me are the parents that refuse to pay for training for their kids with horses. Not only are they putting their children's safety on the line but they are not setting them up to succeed.
 

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If I felt I could not afford a horse for my kid, with the lessons and sending the horse to the trainer when needed, I would take my child to a barn that gave lessons and spend all the money on that. Don't purchase a horse. They would become knowledgeable riders and before you know it they would have other people begging them to ride their horses. It is not like there would be no horse in the picture. A friend of mine went that route and her daughter is now being paid to ride other people's horses. She cleans stalls at a barn and gets more lessons in trade.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If I felt I could not afford a horse for my kid, with the lessons and sending the horse to the trainer when needed, I would take my child to a barn that gave lessons and spend all the money on that. Don't purchase a horse. They would become knowledgeable riders and before you know it they would have other people begging them to ride their horses. It is not like there would be no horse in the picture. A friend of mine went that route and her daughter is now being paid to ride other people's horses. She cleans stalls at a barn and gets more lessons in trade.
I have a standing offer here with anyone that wants more of an experience to do just that.
They can "Hang out" just as long as they want and learn about the whole operation.

Some people just want to ride the "Made" horse and then make the rest up on their own.
This is the most dangerous of anything.

Most trainers will take the time to show the person coming up what is involved in the process if they feel that the person will listen.

The person takes on a horse that is Wayyyyy over their head or their riding skill and things go from bad to worse.
Things that are absolute foundation training are missed,someone is hurt and the horse winds up at a different place starting all over again.

I have had horses here in the past that have been through this process 4 or 5 times and are soooo confused that they don't know which way is up.
In every case the horse's next stop was the kill truck because of "Their" attitude and the cycle is starting again with a fresh crop of babies hitting the ground as we speak.









 

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I part loaned an ex racer part way through the summer and he wasn't as quiet or as safe a ride as I had been lead to believe. I knew he needed some training especially over his jumping which is why I took him on. It turned out that he really needed a specialist ex racer trainer who could work on him. He was stiff in the neck, had never really been properly schooled, was unpredictable on hacks; he could be really good or really play up. His owner was under going hypnotherapy for being scared of riding him. In the end I decided to give him up because he needed someone who could really work with him and give him more time than I had. Sometimes you just need to accept you can't help the horse within your experience.
 

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I call this "Disney Syndrome"

I see it over and over again, but people just don't want to pay for quality, qualified help... no they would rather die than spend a buck

But really, isnt constantly stuggling and getting no where a lot more fun than getting instructon, learning, and reaching your horsey 'goal' all the while having a blast and developing a relationship that will last forever?

Ahh heck, there is always the next horse, perhaps he will be better :roll:
 

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That movie was just on the other night! I do agree with you. I work with a lot of people that seem to think horses trade good behavior for carrots, and love solves all. In the eyes of many people, they think that horses just come programed to ride, and one that doesn't do it properly must be faulty. The skill of the rider is often overlooked, as obviously it must be the horses fault.

Also, it is not only movies, but many lesson barns only feed off of the mentality. I have met people who have taken lessons for years, but still don't know the first thing about truly interacting with a horse. Unfortunately, it only seems to get worse as time goes on. I find that the biggest challenge is for people to learn to live with horses instead of around them.

I began training with my former trainer at age 13. I actually started with retraining problem horses, and continued retraining for years without even touching a baby. Once I did start my own baby, I realized it is a lot easier to start with a clean slate than it is to dig your way out of someone elses hole. I would recommend working with someone first, the horse always lets you know what they need time with as long as you're listening.
 

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I think sometimes the parents really do think their kids are just that good. I've seen a lot of parents that believe their children are ready to work with a green horse. The kids are just that, kids and really feel they have the skills to do it. And then they get in too deep. I don't know how many times I've heard a trainer blow smoke up a persons butt telling them that they were the best in the class and they are far more talented. You have to remember that there are a ton of trainers out there that aren't qualified but will gladly take your money. I call them horse-traders. They buy and sell horses, not really caring about the animal or the purchaser. Alot of times the purchaser will tell the seller they are a beginner or that they are a green rider and the purchaser will promise they can handle the animal. It's a risk you take when you buy a horse. I've seen tons of people that are teaching people to ride that don't have the skill sets to be doing it.

For people that have owned and worked with horses for a long time, it's common sense, you take someone that you trust with you when you look at a horse. You get a pre-purchase exam (I don't always), you buy a horse that you can handle. There are certain questions you ask when you look at a horse. You keep a great trainer in your back pocket.

For people that are new to the industry, none of that is common sense. You learn alot by trial and error and sometimes you get in to deep. That's ok as long as you are smart enough to realize it. You get the help you need and you move forward.

I have a chronic rearer. I bought him when I was 15. He was 3 and barely broke. I "trained" him myself. Looking back, I did a pretty darn good job because he's missing marbles! I love him. He's 26 years old and we've come a long way. Was he the right horse for me? No. Did I ask the right questions, bring a trainer, get a vet check, etc...? No. He was my first horse. You live and you learn. It's not a crime, it's ignorance.
 

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Well written Farmpony84. Fairly often I hear, from intelligent competent people, "all you need is some common sense and you can ride and own a horse" I don't even open my mouth because I have no idea how to counter that statement. Those are the same people that call their horse a "jerk" when it spooks or acts herd bound. (I am speaking form a recent experience with a highly educated professional and his horse.) They think being ridden comes naturally to a horse if it has a good disposition. Sigh.....
 

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That movie was on TV the other night! I love it. I do agree with all of you, but come on, it's a great movie. When people start thinking that they can do the same thing though that is a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That movie was on TV the other night! I love it. I do agree with all of you, but come on, it's a great movie. When people start thinking that they can do the same thing though that is a problem.

I truly love the movies also.
I love Black beauty,The Horse Whisper,My Friend Flicka(the original),The Black Stallion,and so on BUT the real live,where the rubber meets the road kind of day in and day out knowledge that it takes to deal with starting colts and the tools that are needed in the trainers tool box are a whole different thing and common sense only gets you so far.

It takes common sense to fly an airplane also but that does not mean that a person that has common sense can fly a Boeing-767.
It takes training and experience.

The horse just gets shortchanged when the handler is inexperienced and the horse gets a slow or bad start.
The horse gets blamed when things go wrong down the road and the horse is the one that gets taken to the auction for the failures of the handler and ultimately pays the price for the handler lack of knowledge.
 

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Well written Farmpony84. Fairly often I hear, from intelligent competent people, "all you need is some common sense and you can ride and own a horse" I don't even open my mouth because I have no idea how to counter that statement. Those are the same people that call their horse a "jerk" when it spooks or acts herd bound. (I am speaking form a recent experience with a highly educated professional and his horse.) They think being ridden comes naturally to a horse if it has a good disposition. Sigh.....
Having common sense does not mean attempting to train problems out of an animal. Having common sense means every person WITH IT should be able to train a youngster. However, having common sense also means knowing when to quit, and knowing when to ask for help. Most people are fully capable of training a youngster, the problems arise when they encounter something they're unsure how to deal with and they proceed regardless. We will ALL have times when we need help - it's learning how to swallow your pride and take some time.

It's funny because I sort of got thrown INTO a "National Velvet Syndrome" by my family. :lol: I was only 14 when my uncle shipped Zena to his farm, after my grandpa bragged to everyone what a hotshot little rider I was. He asked me to work with Zena, and in payment I could have her foal. Of course, in my ignorance, I never thought to ask WHAT her problems were. "Oh, she's a little nervous..."

The number of times that animal almost kills as both makes me wince if my parents ever had a clue what they got me into. The first year was spent with scabs covering my hands because once you got a foot in the stirrup, you couldn't stop her for about two miles. I had no money, so I started making gadgets out of twine to control her. Once I figured out that with a twine tiedown and a tom thumb bit I could actually stop her in half the distance, we were in business!

I think about it now and how much worse it could have gone. I didn't have the option of a trainer and I had no option of quitting either - quitting has never been in my blood. I was left to figure it out myself. Along the way my uncle died and my aunt didn't want the horse back, so I kept her. I think she could have been brought around into a nice little riding pony, and probably a lot faster then I did it, but I'm proud to say that by the end, I was actually getting her halfway rideable at all her paces in a snaffle bit as long as the ring was enclosed. She suffered an injury that forced me to ultimately rehome her, so now she's enjoying the cushy life of retirement in a big pasture babysitting foals. She deserves it for keeping me alive all those years! :lol:
 

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I think sometimes the parents really do think their kids are just that good. I've seen a lot of parents that believe their children are ready to work with a green horse.
I saw the aftermath of something like this just a few months ago. The girl is about 12 or 13 and according to both her and her grandparents, she is the greatest horseman to ever walk the earth. She can get a horse to do anything and if she can't then there is something wrong with the horse. Her grandparents bought her a 4 year old green broke horse for her to show in 4-H and they just couldn't understand why the horse was really nice at first but it started to not turn, not stop, and sometimes would just take the bit and run, especially when asked for the lope. So they sent the horse to my Dad for training. He rode the horse for about 4 months to get him over his issues and kinda solidify his training. He ended up a very nice horse, good carriage, responsive, consistent in his leads, etc. When they came to pick the horse up, Dad put the girl on him and tried to tell her how to handle him and what cues to use. However, she always knew a "better" way to do it. I saw the horse at a 4-H show about 3 months later and, what a mystery, the horse was rearing, arena sour, high headed, and had no brakes or power steering. I bet the twisted shanked snaffle and training fork that she was yanking on weren't the problem, there must be something wrong with the horse, right?

I suffered a bout of the NVS when I was about 14, but I already had a head start on most people. I grew up with a horse trainer and saw how he did things, even if I didn't really understand the subtleness of some of the things he did at the time. I had always had very well trained horses to ride while I was growing up and had finished out one green broke horse and I thought I was ready to start one from the ground up. So I did. I made a ton of mistakes and he is now a monster of a horse but I realize that I'm the one that made him that way. I accept that because he taught me a lot about actually learning how to make a good horse instead of just winging it. IMHO, the best way to learn how to train a horse is to first learn what a good horse is supposed to be like. So many people have never actually ridden a good horse and therefore, have no idea how a good horse is supposed to handle or behave. There are too many people who just accept rearing or kicking or biting or bucking or running off as just part of riding horses. They have no idea that there are horses out there that are accessible to the average rider that don't have any of those vices, they stand for tacking and mounting and they go where you want them at what speed you want them with no fuss. After a rider learns what a good horse is, then they can begin to learn how to make them that way. I am a thorough believer in working your way back down from finished horse to greenie, under the tutoring of an experienced trainer if possible. Some people do get lucky and get a functional horse out of a greenie the first time around but there are so many of the finer points that most people don't even think about, let alone know how to accomplish them.
 

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I wish i had the first five horses I trained to do over again now. They were carefully selected for me, although at the time I didn't realize that, by an experienced cowboy and horse trainer. My dad put up with my teenage attitude and encouraged me to try things that I'm sure he knew wouldn't do the horse any good but would help me understand why certain things were done in certain ways. If I were new to horses there is no way I would want to be saddled with a horse that an amature, first-time trainer had started. Even the most promising young trainers leave gaping holes and do things that they wish later that they hadn't done.

Knowing how much pressure to put on a horse and exactly when to take it off is a function of experience not common sense. Most people should NOT be training horses. They should ride nice gentle well trained horses. There are some that can ride a well started less experienced horse and bring it along right. A very few people have what it takes to get the most out of a horse and create the kind of horses that everyone else needs.
 
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